Sometimes an idea fails so badly that in retrospect we can’t help wondering, “What were you thinking?” On Sunday we tried keeping the kids in the service until communion and then sending them off to Sunday School. We did this in response to research showing that kids that stay in “big church” instead of going off to Sunday School are much more likely to be active church members as adults.
Ironically, the biggest problem with our plan was not the kids in the service. They were actually very well behaved. Unfortunately, by the time they got downstairs for their lesson, they just needed to let off steam and were basically unteachable. There were many other issues we discovered only as we tried this new schedule, so we are going to plan B. Plan B is basically to go back to our previous schedule, holding Sunday School during the first 40 minutes of the service. What we will do differently is plan regular services, at least quarterly, where the kids are in the service. When we do this we will try to make the service work for them and for the adults that are present.
As a parent with three adult children who do not attend church, I am committed to doing something, anything, to change this trend. Our first attempt created new problems, but the issue remains. We want to raise children to be active, worshipping, and faithful Christians. The next service we will design to include the children will be the Blessing of the Animals service. We should be able to make that fun for everyone!